The Front Reviews
Out of all of the Woody Allen movies that I have seen to date, this is the best acting that I have seen from him. There's none of those annoying one liners or the usual focus on a troubled relationships. Maybe that's because it wasn't written and directed by Woody Allen, which proves that he can put in a better performance when he isn't behind the camera. The movie is based around the time when communists were getting black listed in Hollywood which meant that people wasn't able to get there scripts read by studios. This is when Allen comes in, and works as the perfect cover for the out of work writers. Although this film was released in the 70's, it's still watchable and enjoyable for this day and age.
I have finally found a straight laced Woody Allen movie which I didn't find annoying! It just happens to be one that he hasn't written or directed and he isn't constantly getting his leg over during the movie. I liked the performance from Zero Mostel, who starred in a lot of Gene Wilder movies like the Producers and I liked the fact that the director brought tension to the whole difficult situation. In all, this is a better side to Woody Allen's acting which wasn't as big as Manhattan or Annie Hall, but it is just as good.
I recommend this movie to people who are into there dramas about a group of writers who get black listed from Hollywood during the communist period. 6/10
However, the movie pulls its punches. For much of its duration, the movie is a comedy. The fact that Woody Allen stars in the lead role doesn't lend itself to the drama of the situation. A full-on drama was what was required.
The final scene should have been a powerful indictment of the oppressiveness of the system. Other than the final line, it is very mild and unfocused.
As mentioned, Woody Allen's presence doesn't help the drama. However, as far as comedic roles go, it was fine. Zero Mostel gives the stand-out performance - a mixture of pathos, comedy and helplessness that perfectly encapsulated the plight of the average TV/movie star.
Worth watching as an indication of how stupid politicians can be (though we are reminded on a daily basis).